This morning, I took my car in for a repair and met a friend for breakfast. It's such a treat to take time to sit, and leisurely enjoy a meal with someone else. We talk to each other nearly every day via Facebook and texts, but it's not the same as real-life contact. Sometimes, I think we don't make enough time for in-person activities. Too much is accessible on the internet... webinars, twitter chats, FB chats, texts, even Skype puts the filter of a computer screen between two people.
I think I might be missing the olden days... you know, back when we had to pull the phone cord around the corner to gain some privacy because not only was it attached to the wall in the kitchen, it was the only phone in the house. My mom used to "have coffee" several times a week with friends, in a house, while the children entertained each other. There was no stylish Starbucks or trendy Tim Hortons to meet up at. And Sunday was a family day. We'd all pile into the car and head out to Grandma's house where she would serve roast beast, mashed potatoes and pie. Only, for us, Grandma lives too far away, and our boys have too many activities that fill up Sundays to participate in such folly. These days, we're lucky if we have supper together at all.
As I'm writing this, knowing I'm about to publish it on the internet, I keep thinking that, in some ways, we're even more disconnected than we were when technology wasn't a part of our everyday. It's like we've given ourselves permission to be too busy to connect in person. Instead of "I'll call you", it's "I'll text you". Instead of "let's have a coffee", it's "I'll send you a picture on Facebook. And when we do call, or we do meet in person - we always say "we need to do this more often".
We're right, we do. At the very least, I do.
My days are far more productive when I interact with people face-to-face. Today I took my car to be fixed, had breakfast with a friend, scrubbed two bathrooms, did several loads of laundry, supervised the cleaning of the rest of the house, dropped off some donations to a local organization, wrote 1 664 words, edited another 2 500, and did my standard marketing. I didn't feel stressed, I wasn't rushed, and I didn't run out of energy.
It's possible that the luxury of working from home in pajamas has created an illusion of a stress-free work environment. The truth is, it's easy to fall into bad habits, forget to take breaks, take showers, and even take time for kids. No matter what - the work is always there. I tell myself it's okay to work in the evenings, because I sent a detailed email to my mom, I texted my girlfriend, and I shared a few links with my kids on Facebook (they're teenagers - they're allowed to have accounts). My world can wait for me to unplug because I've connected with everyone on the interweb... sort of... in 140 characters or less.
So... I need to make myself a promise. One that I can actually keep. I promise to eat dinner with my family as often as possible; I promise that while out for lunch or breakfast, I won't answer or look at my cell phone, especially if the notification is from Facebook or Twitter; and I promise to remember that connecting virtually is convenient, but it's not, and never will be, a replacement for connecting in person.
Oh - and my NaNoWriMo word count total is 37 164.